The best tourism operators in NSW were recognised in a stunning gala event on Thursday night at the 2012 NSW Tourism Awards. The winners were judged from hundreds of entries received from around the state who represent festivals and events, accommodation, tour operators and indigenous tourism.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, congratulated the winners and praised the innovation and dedication of the industry. “The NSW Tourism Awards is an important opportunity to recognise the achievements of the industry and those who strive for success and the shared common goal of ensuring NSW is the number one visitor destination in Australia” said Minister Souris.
Nominated as finalists in both the “Tour and/or Transport Operator” and “Indigenous Tourism” categories, Michael and Joanne McCulkin of the Broken Hill--based 4WD tour company Tri State Safaris and off--shoot company Mutawintji Eco Tours, were overwhelmed to have been announced as winners in both categories. The win in Tour &/or Transport Operator category saw them inducted into the NSW Tourism Hall of Fame! The Hall of Fame category recognises those winners who have a Gold award for the third consecutive year. In 2011 Tri State Safaris were also inducted into the NSW Tourism Hall of Fame in the category of Adventure Tourism.
Owner Michael McCulkin said “Our induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest level of recognition achievable in the Tourism Industry, and both Joanne and I are thrilled to have achieved this. It is a culmination of years of hard work, of having passionate and dedicated team who work for us, and the good support that Broken Hill has given us. Impressing our customers is an easy task given the natural beauty of the region we operate in – Broken Hill and surrounds has so much to offer its visitors.”
“Winning the Indigenous Tourism award again highlights the fact that the Outback region is so rich in indigenous cultural experiences. We feel that we have some of the best indigenous guides in the country, who are passionate about sharing their culture with our customers” said Joanne McCulkin.
The 2012 NSW Tourism Awards were announced at Le Montage, in Lilyfield -- Sydney, in front of 700 people. All NSW Tourism Gold Award winners automatically become finalists in the National (Australian) Tourism Awards, to be held in Hobart in February 2013.
The team’s qualification for the “Tour and/or Transport Operator” category puts them in line for a place in the Australian Tourism Awards “Hall of Fame” should their hard work earn them a gold award win in this next level of competition.